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"If I can be the person that does that, I’ll die happy."
January 21, 2011 10:00 AM   Subscribe

Josh Springer thinks his invention can eliminate lines for beer at sporting events. The Bottoms Up beer pouring system claims to pour beer up to nine times faster than normal serving methods by using the power of magnets.
posted by OverlappingElvis (49 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Eliminating the lines for buying beer, increasing the lines for the bathroom.

Two steps forward, three steps back...unless magnets can help us with that, too.
posted by inturnaround at 10:02 AM on January 21, 2011


So it uses magnets. Fine. But how do they work?
posted by Wolfdog at 10:04 AM on January 21, 2011 [28 favorites]


I wonder what that does to the cost of the cups. When I go to hockey games it seems like the limiting factor is more the general incompetence of the employees than rate of beer filling.
posted by ghharr at 10:05 AM on January 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Also, dispensing the beer at sporting events faster is only an improvement if it's being dispensed directly into a sewer where it can't accidentally be consumed.
posted by Wolfdog at 10:05 AM on January 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think the money exchange time is the problem. The solution is free beer.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:06 AM on January 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


Saying it's using the power of magnets is a little disingenuous. It seems that the magnet serves to keep the cup attached to the pouring device. I don't see any claims (yet) on the inventor's website that claims the magnet is what's making things faster.

"The key is the use of a cup that features a hole at the bottom and small, circular magnet that rests over it. When placed on the system, the magnet is lifted up by the pressure-driven beer. The cup fills up until the weight of the liquid pushes the magnet back down over the hole. The cup can then be lifted off and the beer consumed as normal."

It's pretty brilliant. It sucks that you have to have special cups to do it, which seems unnecessarily complicated and expensive, when the tradeoff is just a few seconds, but it's still a pretty brilliant solution to the problem.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 10:06 AM on January 21, 2011


A while ago someone made a simple add-on that just makes the tap longer, so the beer is still dispensed from the bottom with no need for magnets on the bottom of your cup. Ah, here it is. It may be slower, but I wonder if it would make much of a difference.
posted by zsazsa at 10:07 AM on January 21, 2011


It sucks that you have to have special cups

No, it's a value-added messaging space! Plus if you want you get a free handful of beer dribbles plus a beer-sodden refrigerator magnet to put in your pocket when you're done, which is good, because I have a hard time finding enough refrigerator magnets.

(coming soon, pictures of college doodz nasty college apartment refrigerators completely wallpapered in these things).
posted by nanojath at 10:11 AM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's cool, but useless for cask ale. I can wait a minute for the bartender to pull my pint.
posted by fixedgear at 10:13 AM on January 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


simple add-on that just makes the tap longer

I was thinking a long spout with an adjustable sensor point at the top that would stop the tap and raise the spout out of the glass - no need to monitor the pour, you could set it up so that as soon as you drop the tap into the cup it would start pouring and I bet you could go as fast or faster than this setup. So, uh, I guess someone patent that and then send me a picture of yourself giving me the finger when you're a millionaire.
posted by nanojath at 10:14 AM on January 21, 2011


It eliminates waiting for foam to die down before you continue pouring. Or something.
posted by TheRedArmy at 10:15 AM on January 21, 2011


What strikes me as cunning is the advertising on the magnet -- get a beer and take home a goofy keepsake of your ball game or whatever. The article says the cup cost is more than quadruple for this system vs party cups, but they seem to have found a way to turn that into a net plus.
posted by boo_radley at 10:16 AM on January 21, 2011


I think the money exchange time is the problem.

From the article:
“The speed of service is phenomenal,” Carter continued. “There isn’t really a line anymore. The only thing that slows it up now is taking the money.”
Let me just say, if your business has an efficiency problem that's only resolved by being able to collect money faster, you're heading in the right direction.
posted by odinsdream at 10:16 AM on January 21, 2011 [19 favorites]


cross section of cup plz
posted by 2bucksplus at 10:17 AM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have no use for fizzy yellow swill beer and also no use for these huge sportball events, but I've still seen this before, elsewhere. Odd.
posted by paisley henosis at 10:18 AM on January 21, 2011


A gambrinous paradigm shift of this magnitude requires extensive field testing before it can be commercially released.

What-say us Mefites volunteer?
posted by chavenet at 10:20 AM on January 21, 2011


Remember, this isn't for Michael Anne at Dog and Duck to pour your Chimay faster, it's to get that Miller Lite in your hands ASAP at the ball park. Looks like it gets the job done. Whether or not it's profitable and how much more/less wasteful it is remains to be seen.

Still, props to Josh Springer for coming up with this and bringing it to market.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 10:22 AM on January 21, 2011


zsazsa: A while ago someone made a simple add-on that just makes the tap longer, so the beer is still dispensed from the bottom with no need for magnets on the bottom of your cup. Ah, here it is. It may be slower, but I wonder if it would make much of a difference.

Funny, I read the first part of this article, thought "custom cups? this sucks.", and thought of EXACTLY what you linked to, complete with the flared bottom to reduce turbulent flow (and reduce the beer's foamy head). It pours in two seconds -- at which point the limiting factor of beer lines becomes money exchange and incompetence (as ghharr pointed out).

I'd even improve on the linked design by rifling the spout (perhaps with a variably twistable rubber bottom depending on desired head amount) so that the beer is already moving in the direction of the cup sides, reducing turbulence even more.

The final improvement would be some way to place it on the Metafilter front page, and transubstantiate snark into a less bitter pilsner.
posted by hanoixan at 10:23 AM on January 21, 2011


What am I missing here? Doesn't one of these already exist, for situations where a large number of people have to get a non-cask-conditioned alcoholic carbonated beverage in a short period of time?
posted by cromagnon at 10:23 AM on January 21, 2011


Or you could, you know, hire more beer guys.

Or just sell cans. And if you think that's a lower quality or whatever, you are already buying seven dollar Busch Lite at a stadium for Chrissakes.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:27 AM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


"It's cool, but useless for cask ale."

Dude, what ballparks have firkins?
posted by klangklangston at 10:28 AM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


What am I missing here?

Additional profits is my guess
posted by ghharr at 10:29 AM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Half-decent beers are finally showing up at sporting events and concerts here in the northeast. They cost something like $9.00, so dropping an extra quarter on the cup isn't a huge deal- they'll either bump the price up to $10, or make it up on increased volume.
posted by jenkinsEar at 10:31 AM on January 21, 2011


I would love if they'd just sell me a can. You can't trust the cups. (guys sound like the had a few of those small beers already).
posted by 2bucksplus at 10:32 AM on January 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


Until the inevitable lawsuit caused by someone dislodging the magnet, biting it in half and swallowing it...
posted by mincus at 10:38 AM on January 21, 2011


Let me get this straight. Serving beer in cups with a hole in the bottom? And a magnet you can swallow when you're done? What could possibly go wrong?
posted by Jode at 10:43 AM on January 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


That is pretty cool. Waiting in line for beer comes in first for most annoying thing about drinking at the ball park, and right behind it is "bad beers cost 5 dollars a piece". If there was no wait and the bad beer cost six dollars, then I'd consider that a positive shift.
posted by codacorolla at 10:45 AM on January 21, 2011


Let me get this straight, you want to sell me a beer with a hole in the bottom of the cup?
posted by I love you more when I eat paint chips at 11:05 AM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can imagine a whole new griefer at the ball park- the drunken fratboy who thinks it's funnier than hell to poke out your magnet while you're taking a drink.
posted by pjern at 11:08 AM on January 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's still beer in plastic. Blech.
posted by monospace at 11:16 AM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Gee, that's real nice for people who want to buy beer at the game.

I'll bring my own, thanks.
posted by orme at 11:18 AM on January 21, 2011


If you could affix a tube to the bottom of the cup, you have yourself the worlds smallest beer bong. Then you could wait in line again to get another beer.
posted by aGee at 11:18 AM on January 21, 2011


Because, of course, the problem at major sporting events has been too few drunks.
posted by dhartung at 11:24 AM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


cross section of cup plz
At end of the last video in the 1st link it kinda shows how it works.

If the problem before was with the head, they should switch to Old Frothingslosh...
“--so light the foam is on the bottom.”
Plus, it's stadium-quality beer.
posted by MtDewd at 11:37 AM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


And then you still have to wait for them to put the gourmet ice cubes in.
posted by Kabanos at 12:01 PM on January 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


What am I missing here? Doesn't one of these already exist, for situations where a large number of people have to get a non-cask-conditioned alcoholic carbonated beverage in a short period of time?

Cans of beer are heavy and can cause maximum damage when directed at members of the opposing team. They also have aerodynamic properties that aid in reaching the field of play.

Plastic cups, not so much.
posted by madajb at 12:06 PM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can't see a plastic cup anymore without thinking how it'll be littering some part of the world for the next 5 centuries.
posted by Liquidwolf at 12:13 PM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I only want to see this if they make a washable glass container with a screw cap.
posted by parmanparman at 12:29 PM on January 21, 2011


Very clever, and has a lot of potential. It's easily adaptable to non-beer beverages for which people queue, such as Coke at the cinema, or coffee outside of office buildings in the early morning.

With coffee or tea, it wouldn't be difficult to put it on top of a mixer to let customers choose their own mix ratio of milk or soy milk, and you can to some extent predict the serving temperature from the mix ratio. Drop finely powdered sugar in through the top, use spiral rifling as hanoixan suggests, add the hot liquid before the cold, and most of the sugar would dissolve in the hot liquid, reducing the need to stir. Or they could set up units for various common ratios of milk to coffee, and provide sugar off to the side.

It could probably even automate the pouring of multi-layer drinks.

This could be used to put petrol into standard vehicles, eg UPS or taxi fleet. The fuel tank of almost all cars is on the bottom already, so plumbing in an adapter is easy enough. So long as the cars are the exact same size, or even if you have a few specific types of car, aligning it isn't a very difficult problem. Probably want to use a mechanical valve rather than a pressure-pushed magnet, but the principle of filling quickly from the bottom remains.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 12:32 PM on January 21, 2011


Liquidwolf I can't see a plastic cup anymore without thinking how it'll be littering some part of the world for the next 5 centuries.

Biodegradable plastic cups, base cost 10c each, probably add 2c for retooling for the hole and 10c for the magnet.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 12:35 PM on January 21, 2011


"Two beers please"
"$40"
"what!? it used to be $18!"
"yeah..see the magnets? Total comes to $40"
posted by sidewaysglance at 12:38 PM on January 21, 2011


Biodegradable plastic cups, base cost 10c each, probably add 2c for retooling for the hole and 10c for the magnet.

Yeah, I've seen these around, or similar ones. I think the ones I've seen the most are made of corn somehow (?) it would be nice if they could replace the standard plastic, but it seems like a long way before the average bar, or sports event has access to those. The plastic manufacturers probably have some huge lobby to make sure that smarter alternatives don't usurp them. Plastic vs Hemp and all that.
posted by Liquidwolf at 12:49 PM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


fucking magnets, how do they work?
posted by Afroblanco at 1:18 PM on January 21, 2011


How about just not paying $9.50 for a beer? (Seriously. AT&T Park, wtf?)
posted by madcaptenor at 1:24 PM on January 21, 2011


I'm not a heavy drinker or a sports fan, but that's still cool.
posted by Lucien Dark at 1:40 PM on January 21, 2011


The cup fills up until the weight of the liquid pushes the magnet back down over the hole.

This doesn't seem right. It would be far easier to configure the machine to dispense exactly 12 or 16 ounces and then stop. Calibrating magnets to have exactly the right strength to counter the weight of X ounces of beer would push the production costs through the roof.
posted by rh at 2:50 PM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Magneto would approve.
posted by Kabanos at 3:08 PM on January 21, 2011


Piffle, I says. The way to eliminate lines for beer is to bring the beer to the customer. I don't mean your standard middle-aged unshaven, pot-belied beer vendor selling lukewarm light beer from a tray around his waist. Oh no, I mean delicious, ice-cold, draught beer, served directly to the customer at their seat. Delivered by beer girls! (warning, lousy music)

Yes, real beer (you can usually get any of the major brands, Sapporo, Kirin, Asahi, or even the slightly more expensive, yet delicious Ebisu. Even, occasionally, Premium Malts) poured just for you by a nice, smiling beer girl for only 600 yen (roughly $6.50 these days). Fresh, delicious, and without having to leave your seat.

Compare.
posted by Ghidorah at 4:07 PM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've used these cups many times at UNLV football games. They work as advertised, with the added benefit of leaving you with a little souvenir magnet when you're done (it's not swallow-able, btw -- too big).

But what these videos don't show is the big fucking mess the cups make if you set it on anything but a perfectly flat surface. For example, rest the cup on your leg while you're sitting down and the beer will slowly leak all over your pants (the first time, I thought it was just condensation at first -- no such luck). So it takes a little getting used to, and you may have to break old habits.

Bottom line: it's great for vendors, but something of a PITA for customers.
posted by coolguymichael at 4:28 PM on January 21, 2011


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